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Frequently Asked Orthodontist Questions
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Your Questions Answered

Your questions are important to us. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions Dr. Laster receives. If you don't see your question answered, feel free to ask our team. There is no such thing as a bad question.

Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 7 or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist, or the child’s physician.

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.

Braces use steady, gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.

Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.

  • A more attractive smile
  • Reduced appearance-consciousness during critical development years
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Possible increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Guide permanent teeth into more favorable positions
  • Reduce the risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aids in optimizing other dental treatment
  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The center of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth

An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education program following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.

Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, and underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort.

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.

Orthodontic Dictionary

Orthodontists use a lot of words that might not make much sense the first time you hear them. Bookmark our orthodontic dictionary and "look up" any words that you don't understand.

Anything your orthodontist attaches to your teeth which moves your teeth or changes the shape of your jaw.

The metal wire that acts as a track to guide your teeth along as they move. It is changed periodically throughout treatment as your teeth move to their new positions.

A metal ring that is cemented to your tooth, going completely around it. Bands provide a way to attach brackets to your teeth.

The process of fitting and cementing orthodontic bands to your teeth.

The seal created by orthodontic cement that holds your appliances in place.

The process of attaching brackets to your teeth using special orthodontic cement.

A metal or ceramic part cemented (“bonded”) to your tooth that holds your archwire in place.

An x-ray of your head which shows the relative positions and growth of the face, jaws, and teeth.

A spring that fits between your brackets and over your archwire to open space between your teeth.

A meeting with your orthodontist to discuss a treatment plan.

The process of removing cemented orthodontic brackets from your teeth

The process of removing cemented orthodontic bands from your teeth.

A small rubber band that is hooked between different points on your appliance to provide pressure to move your teeth to their new position.

The tiny rubber band that fits around your bracket to hold the archwire in place. They come in a variety of colors.

Headgear uses an external wire apparatus known as a facebow to gently guide the growth of your face and jaw by moving your teeth into proper position. The force is applied to the facebow by a spring-loaded neck strap or head strap. The straps have a safety release that disconnects if the facebow is pulled or snagged.

A round, hollow attachment on your back bands. The inner bow of your headgear fits into it.

A welded or removable arm to which elastics are attached.

The process of making a model of your teeth by biting into a soft material that hardens into a mold of your teeth. Your orthodontist will use these impressions to prepare your treatment plan.

A thin wire that holds your archwire into your bracket.

The process of attaching an archwire to the brackets on your teeth.

A lip bumper is an archwire attached to a molded piece of plastic. The lip bumper holds back the molars on your lower jaw to provide more space for your other teeth.

A device that protects your mouth from injury when you participate in sports or rigorous activities.

A device that makes your upper jaw wider.

An x-ray that rotates around your head to take pictures of your teeth, jaw, and other facial areas.

An appliance that is worn after your braces are removed, the retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth to hold them in place. Some retainers are removable, while others are bonded to the tongue-side of several teeth.

A small rubber ring that creates space between your teeth before the bands are attached.

A fine wire that is twisted around your bracket to hold the archwire in place.

Wax is used to stop your braces from irritating your lips.

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First Visit

What to expect on your first visit to see the orthodontist.

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Life With Braces

Discover all there is to know about life with braces.

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Patient Rewards

Get cool rewards just for being a great patient.

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Patient Care Videos

See Dr. Laster and the team share their expert knowledge.

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New Patient Forms

Access all of our new patient forms.

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Incredible people are among us.

The Laster Orthodontics team is full of happy, warm, genuine people who love life, and our patients. We are always 100% committed to patient care.

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My son got braces at Laster Orthodontics. They are now off and his teeth look great! The staff and Dr. Laster were extremely friendly and helpful through the whole process.

– Kim Ferace